It’s a curious thing to be human. We often learn at a young age to repress aspects of ourselves to avoid pain. And yet, by repressing aspects of ourselves, we create conflicts with our natural desires. These internal conflicts interfere with our ability to live a happy and smooth life.
These can be deep conflicts over life fundamentals. Like desiring wealth but seeing money as the root of all evil. Or wanting health but soothing emotions with food.
Often, we make major compromises in life choices to avoid facing those apparently unresolvable conflicts. And yet all of it can be resolved if we learn a few good life skills.
Not that I recommend we make life all about ourselves. Life is full of responsibilities. But there’s a difference between responsibility and self-imposed obligations driven by aversion. My point is that we often act against our own interests in subconscious fear of possible future pain.
In a prior article, I mentioned the example of those with empath gifts. One of the common unskilled workarounds is trying to be invisible (unnoticed) in social groups. But this conflicts with our desire for friends, being seen, and gaining recognition.
Similarly, we can fear success more than failure because success could amplify those unseen conflicts.
I’ve even seen people intentionally create conflicts so they have an excuse to leave a job or relationship. It can seem easier to blame others than face our bogey-man.
And yet, in a curious way this mess can be a good thing because we don’t want to be creating a lot of what we have our attention on. When our energy is given to our problems, what we hate, and so forth, we don’t want more of those things. The internal conflicts help dissipate our energy, preventing us from creating more of what we dwell on.
In case this principle is unfamiliar, everything we experience arises from intention and attention. Whatever we put our attention on grows stronger. Some beings live entirely in that arena.
During the first 5-6 years of life, we’re programmed to take it all in. We learn from others actions, reactions, energy modeling, and words. We learn to walk, talk, and what is safe.
Some of that learning becomes what we might call Protection stories. As they begin when we’re small, they can be very basic and black & white. Men are unsafe. Men don’t cry. Girls are weak. And so on.
The messages we’re given can conflict or be mixed because the adults around us may not have this sorted out themselves. We also learn what emotions are safe to express and how and in what ways we’re supported and not.
How we then respond to all this input determines our own stories. Some we’ll adopt, some reject, and some embellish.
For example – gardening. I grew up in a family of gardeners and my father was a forester. But the signals I got conflicted, like ‘stay out of the garden’, ‘that’s my territory’ and ‘gardening is for girls’. I developed no interest. But in the same environment, my siblings became avid gardeners.
Sometimes it can take some time to sort through the stories and figure out what was old programming and what is honestly driven by our own natural desires. The key is usually resistance. If we’re feeling any reticence about something, there’s often a dynamic behind that. 20-somethings can struggle with this as they make major life choices. Are we chasing ‘supposed-to’ or what supports our way of being? One leads to feeling safe, the other to happiness.
We can now see 3 parts to this – the circumstances, the messages we got about them, and how we responded to that. What worked for us then becomes an inner story that is regurgitated each time a new circumstance arises that reminds the subconscious of it. This is our life programming.
Biology has found that this comparison with the past happens prior to conscious perception. Our evaluation of circumstances is already coloured by past experience before we’ve had time to consider it. This improves our safety but predisposes us to be past-referral instead of seeing what is here as it is. Keep in mind that the subconscious is just a habit machine. It’s very fast but not logical.
If aspects of your life are not working so well for you, these kinds of dynamics may well be why.
As we unload baggage, we’ll discover these stories through triggers – life events that make them more conscious. But it may take time to get clear on what the actual driver is. Sometimes, there can be several layers. A story about a story about a story, each justifying the previous one. It can sometimes seem like a labyrinth.
Plus, behind each story can be an energetic driver of an unresolved experience or desire.
Not that we should obsess over this. That can just solidify those stories. Better is a process of progressive awareness and release as things arise. Live your life but notice when you’re being reactive or resisting. See that as a place that needs healing.
In time, the stories that don’t serve us will be dismissed, and the resistance washed away. Then life can be what it’s meant to be.